Growing older comes with many joys and the freedom to spend your time doing what you love.
Of course, along with the freedoms it offers, growing older also eventually leads to our bodies moving more slowly and our daily tasks becoming more difficult. Big homes become too much to maintain and living alone can lead to loneliness.
There will eventually come a time when retirement community living is the safest and healthiest living option for your parent or loved one. Beginning the retirement community conversation and helping them understand the benefits of moving to a Life Plan Community, however, is usually difficult. But it doesn’t have to be.
The journey from the time you begin your conversation to when your parent agrees to move to a retirement community is a process that requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to listen.
When Should You Start Planning to Have the Retirement Community Conversation?
Begin thinking about your parent’s wellbeing while they’re still fully able to live on their own and enjoy life. This gives you time to plan, discuss options with your siblings, and prepare to begin your conversations.
Planning ahead will hopefully help you initiate the conversation on your terms in a way that’s best for your parent. Unfortunately, many adult children shy away from having this discussion and then are unexpectedly forced into it when a parent gets sick or suddenly needs nursing care. Suddenly, the conversation shifts from a calm, sensitive discussion about a parent’s wellbeing to a forced debate about how to get them the care they need quickly.
Of course, your intentions are rooted in your desire to protect your parents whom you love. Understandably, however, parents usually equate moving to a retirement home with losing their independence. This is all the more reason to be proactive in planning ahead.
When is it the Right Time to Have the First Conversation?
Speak with your parents about moving to a retirement community well before they’d ever make the move. If they interpret your conversation as you trying to push them out of their home, you’ll run up against a wall and your conversation may turn cold.
Talking with parents about how they want to live in old age is often referred to as ‘the conversation’ or ‘the talk’. In reality, you’ll begin the first of many conversations and hopefully establish an open dialogue.
In the first conversation, try to do less talking and more listening. Begin by asking your parents about their goals later in retirement and how they want to live. Do you notice any parallels between their wishes and the benefits that retirement community living provides?
If you already notice your parent displaying some of the effects of growing older, ask genuine questions to better understand the concerns they may have about living at home.
Some of the questions you could ask to begin a positive, non-threatening discussion include:
- Do you feel safe living alone?
- Is maintaining the house becoming too much work?
- Would you enjoy spending more time around people your age who share similar interests?
Ask your questions, then stop and listen. Allow your parent to feel heard and in equal control of the discussion.
How Do You Maintain an Open Dialogue and Keep the Conversations Going?
When your parent is ready and open to it, begin discussing specific retirement communities and all of the amenities and community activities that await them. Then, take some tours to get a feel for community living. Once your parent sees how much freedom and independence they’ll gain when they move to a retirement community, as well as the care options available to them, they’re sure to welcome this next phase of life.
We welcome you and your loved ones to visit Pleasant View Communities and see how our vibrant community with its beautiful residential cottages and apartments allows our residents to maintain their independence and live a life they love in retirement. Contact us to learn even more and to schedule a time to visit us at Pleasant View.